The Tax Calendar Matters in a Divorce. Why?By Moskowitz Law Group, LLC |
Taxes can’t be any trickier than they already are when associated with divorce. Why? Because the timelines get all screwy. For instance: if you were married up until late December and your divorce was finalized before the new year, you actually can’t file as married come April of that next year. Likewise, let’s say you get divorced around the first quarter of a particular year; even then, you can still file your taxes as married for the next year.
I understand: you’re confused. Allow me to explain.
Depending on your situation, this may be a good thing – or a bad thing. To avoid all the confusion, though, you have a third option. Instead of filing as single or married, why not file as “head of household”? You’ll see it there on the IRS forms. The point of the “head of household” status is that you often do it as a single person (not necessarily living single), but someone stuck in the middle of divorce might actually qualify for this as long as you’ve lived apart from your spouse for a particular period of time.
Additionally, you have to show that you’ve paid over half the cost of the upkeep to your residence, and you have to be able to claim dependents under the household, such as your children. A separate tax return from your spouse is also necessary, even if you’re still married under the law, no matter how badly you want to get divorced. Yes, this means you may have to sit with your accountant and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to go over the financial details.
The basic rule of thumb when dealing with taxes, especially when marriage (or divorce) is concerned, is this: stick with the calendar. Taxes go majorly linear, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The chronology is there. Follow it. Take this advice seriously, too, because undoubtedly you may save some money on your taxes and get a pretty decent return. That will always make the situation somewhat better!